Notes from Shoreline council meeting August 16, 2021

Friday, August 20, 2021

Pam Cross, reporter
Shoreline City Council Meeting
August 16, 2021

Notes by Pam Cross

Mayor Hall called the remote meeting to order at 7:00pm.
All Councilmembers were present.

Approval of the Agenda
Agenda adopted by unanimous consent.

Report of the City Manager, Debbie Tarry



As is clear in the above graph, new COVID-19 cases are still trending upwards due to the delta variant. Hospitalizations are also accelerating. The vast majority of these cases are among the unvaccinated.

Please protect our community by wearing masks indoors. If you are eligible and have not yet been vaccinated, we urge you to do so.

More information:

Effective August 23, Governor Jay Inslee has brought back a statewide mask requirement and ordered all public, private and charter school employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a requirement of their employment. The mask mandate includes those vaccinated and unvaccinated. For crowded outdoor settings like concerts and farmers markets, masks are strongly recommended.

Everyone in the community is invited to tell us what “A Welcoming Place for All” looks like in Shoreline. Create a drawing, photo, statement, video, or other type of art that reflects the theme. Submissions will be shared via our website and social media. They will also be used as part of our larger community campaign during our Welcoming Week in September. A coloring page is available to download at

The can castle contest deadline has passed but food donations are welcome. Boxed and canned food to help stock the shelves at Hopelink can be dropped off at Shoreline City Hall, 17500 Midvale Ave N through Friday, August 20 between 8am and 5pm. No glass containers please. for additional information

This week’s walk is around the Ridgecrest Neighborhood. Explore the neighborhood around Ridgecrest Elementary School, passing through the Ridgecrest business district, walking footpaths through 3 parks, and enjoying monster displays and a miniature fairyland. The walk has hills, two of which are rather steep, but short.

Enjoy food and live music!

Public Reminders
The Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Aug 19 has been cancelled.
The City Council will be in recess until Monday, September 13.
In recognition of Labor Day, City facilities will be closed on Monday, September 6.

Council Reports

Public Comment
Because there were more than 10 speakers, each speaker was limited to 2 minutes.

Motion to extend the period for public comment from 30 minutes to allow all speakers to speak was passed by unanimous consent.

The following spoke in favor of banning fossil fuel for new commercial and multi-family construction (Item 8a on agenda):
  • Vicki Grayland, Kenmore
  • Lee Janzen, Shoreline
  • Melinda McBride, Shoreline
  • France Giddings, Shoreline
  • Meesun Cho, Shoreline
  • Lee Keim, Shoreline
  • Sally Yamasaki, Lake Forest Park
  • Deepa Sivarajan, Washington Policy Manager at Climate Solutions, Seattle resident
  • Nina Olivier, Built-Green Certification Program Coordinator, Seattle resident
  • Linda Khandro, College instructor in Earth and Space Science, Shoreline resident
  • Asha Viswanathan, Shoreline student
Speaking in opposition to banning fossil fuel for new commercial construction:
  • James O’Neill, Shoreline
  • Ginny Scantlebury, Shoreline
  • Ray Chew, Shoreline
  • Julien Loh, Puget Sound Energy, Local Government Affairs Manager, Seattle resident
  • Leanne Guier, Representing Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 32, Pacific resident

Martha Diesner, Shoreline
Resident of Echo Lake Waterfront Condominiums located next to proposed 198th housing project is concerned about maintaining trees on the site.

Jackie Kurle, Shoreline
Reiterated the need for ongoing, maximum visibility, and transparency in reporting of activities at the enhanced shelter on 193rd and Aurora.

Approval of the Consent Calendar
Consent Calendar approved unanimously

Study Item 8 (a) Discussion of Prohibition of Fossil Fuels in New Construction

Current policy in Washington State prohibits local governments from passing electrification ordinances for new residential construction. Given this prohibition, the City can only evaluate limitations on the use of fossil fuels for commercial construction and multi-family projects over three stories in height.

Autumn Salamack, Environmental Services Coordinator

The City’s 2019 community-wide greenhouse gas emissions inventory showed a 1.3% increase in emissions compared to 2009. This trend is not on track to meet the City’s goals to reduce emissions.

Transportation related activities, primarily from individuals driving gas-powered cars, are responsible for 67% of emissions in 2019.

Fossil fuels used in the built environment were responsible for approximately 32% of emissions in 2019, with 28% from natural gas and 2% from heating oil. In Shoreline, buildings are largely heated by three fuel sources: electricity from Seattle City Light, natural gas from Puget Sound Energy, and heating oil from private companies. Electricity from Seattle City Light is considered carbon neutral and thus is the preferred energy source from both a carbon emissions reduction and public health perspective.

Ray Allshouse, Building Official

We are proposing following Seattle’s lead as shown in the above slide.

Seattle has the resources that we don’t, including a whole staff who basically work on energy code. This approach is necessary to meet carbon goals, it’s cost effective, and possible.

The 2018 WA State Energy Code was published February 2021. The Seattle Energy Code, which betters the State code, was adopted in March 2021. King County is considering adopting about 75% of the Seattle amendments this month. King County Code would only apply to the unincorporated areas of the County. They hope they will have that adopted next February. The cities determine their own codes.

These proposed amendments only apply to multifamily and nonresidential buildings. It has no impact on single family residential, townhomes or duplexes that are controlled by State law. This is currently being reviewed in the State Legislature.

Sooner or later we will have to adopt these regulations. We recommend doing it sooner.


Are you just looking for Council’s opinion on whether we want you to bring back an ordinance? Or if we have other questions on the model code?
  • Reply: The City Attorney needs to put an ordinance into formal format. You might not be interested in everything, so we’re looking for that type of instruction. Would you like us to bring the entire thing back, or just parts of it.
What are your recommendations? This is a really technical code. You kind of need the whole package in order to increase the energy efficiency of a building. Changing one thing affects other things.

Chapter 5 is entitled Existing Buildings. But we’ve been talking about new construction of multifamily and nonresidential buildings. What’s a “new” building; what’s an “old” building? At what point would we be looking at someone having to upgrade to all electric to meet these new requirements?
  • Reply: Fair question. We will prepare a response to that.
Is the new code working in Seattle? Is it raising the cost of construction? Do the systems even exist? It’s pretty complicated - it’s not just unplugging gas and plugging in electricity. There isn’t any data yet. We need to know if these systems exist and are already engineered.
  • Reply: Good question. Seattle code is only 5 months old, and a lot of the developers tried to get projects in under the old code. So I agree with your comments. We need to address these kinds of issues. And if King County didn’t adopt certain things, we need to find out why.
You discussed solar but stated affordable housing is exempt from that requirement. Are their times when solar doesn’t make sense?
  • Reply: Absolutely. That’s part of the puzzle that needs to be sorted out. I will make sure to address this.
I’m glad Shoreline is not debating the reality of climate change, but instead how aggressive we can be with our policy to address it.

I think of heating with gas versus cooking with gas as totally different things. Heating with gas is an environmental issue. We need to stop using fossil fuels to heat our homes. The rationale I’ve heard tonight for banning cooking with gas is that it’s indoor air pollution. You should stop heating with gas because you’re hurting all of us, but you should stop cooking with gas because you’re hurting yourself. I support the package but I do wonder if we can carve out cooking with natural gas.

I’m asking that you each out specifically to Master Builders Assn and other local folks in the building industry for information about the technical issues you presented. I think I understand what most of them are, but what I don’t know is whether some of them are so technically difficult or prohibitively expensive that if we adopt that thing, will it seriously undercut the pace of redevelopment in Shoreline. We don’t want to do that. Will we be shooting ourselves in the foot with some of these things?
  • Reply: We’ll find out.
I don’t want to significantly impair development. We might think it’s a good idea - we should do this or that. But we need to balance with what we’ve all been striving for future development in the corridors that we’ve identified for density.

I appreciate that we have educated staff that understands all of this very technical information and can recommend to us what will work.

Do you know off the top of your head, approximately the percentage, of recently built multifamily buildings currently using only electricity? My understanding is that most new construction is not using any natural gas in any way.
  • Reply: Use of natural gas is limited.
Some may have a natural gas hookup for a gas stove on the rooftop. But no natural gas in units or for heat?
  • Reply: Right. I suspect we’ll see more gas in the smaller apartment buildings.

How long do you anticipate outreach to stakeholders will take?
  • Reply: Couple of months
I think we should move forward following what the State is doing. It makes sense because buildings constructed now will still be here in 40-50 years and it’s costly to convert from one heat source to another.

I think as we develop our legislative priorities for next year, we should consider adding to our priority list more local control over the energy code, and also push for and encourage the State to provide real help for a fair transition for local workers who will be affected by this.

We must always remember natural gas is only a piece of the total picture of our carbon footprint.

I agree that this was a very technical presentation. I want to bring it back a little. Why is the State sitting on its hands and waiting for the cities to make decisions? 
  • Reply: That’s not true and I’m sorry if I’ve given that impression. The State is not standing still on this. Seattle is kind of the guinea pig on this. So all the ideas that seem to work, we’re going to see in the next State Energy Code.
Staff also mentions other jurisdictions, specifically Seattle, Bellingham, and King County. What about other cities and counties in Washington?
  • Reply: I will find out.
  • Reply Autumn Salamack: There are a lot of conversations taking place in other cities and counties.
What about a commercial building with a restaurant. Can commercial restaurants use gas?
  • Reply: Yes but just for cooking.
Townhomes are not included in this because they’re considered single family residences?
  • Reply: Yes. But I’m not seeing a lot of gas in new townhomes. I will bring back more specific information.
New good-sized apartment buildings in Shoreline are not offering gas forced-air heat, correct?
  • Reply: That’s right
Some have gas fireplaces. Are they offering gas cooking?
  • Reply: Not that I know of but I will find out.
I think the biggest culprit with gas will be the new 3,000sf homes with gas fireplaces, hot water heaters, cooking etcetera. If we’re not including townhomes, large apartment buildings are not the biggest culprit. It does make sense for commercial buildings, but what big commercial buildings are we going to get in Shoreline? We don’t have places for warehouses. What are we chasing here? If we want to lower our greenhouse gases, maybe we should stop building large apartment buildings that are going to bring lots of people living in them that are driving cars. That may help. Maybe that is why we’re seeing our greenhouse gasses increase because we’ve had these new apartment buildings. I’m really stuck here that we’re putting regulations on something that isn’t the biggest problem.

New information may change minds of the people who are building these single family homes. Many people are environmentally conscious.

Shoreline has been an active partner with K4C (King County-Cities Climate Collaboration) for nearly 10 years. We can’t meet our goals without shifting away from fossil fuels. This is a good step. We can tinker with some of the Seattle provisions but current State policy does not yet allow us to reach those townhouses and single family dwellings. We will need to do that over time. We can’t do everything at once. And the building community likes consistency so that they don’t have to learn a new code in every city. That’s why we have an International Building Code now.

This will come back to the Council with the whole package for additional discussion.

Study item 8 (b) Discussion of Ordinance No. 942 - Amending Shoreline Municipal Code Chapter 15.20 Landmark Preservation

Julie Ainsworth-Taylor,  Assistant City Attorney.

Since the City’s incorporation in 1995, the King County Landmarks Commission has been serving as the Shoreline Landmarks Commission. Chapter 15.20 of the Shoreline Municipal Code (SMC) incorporates by reference Chapter 20.62 of the King County Code. This incorporation, which occurred in 2003, is based on the provisions as they were then constituted rather than as they have subsequently been amended. This results in inconsistency between the regulations the King County Landmarks Commission is operating under and the City’s.

Staff recommends amending Shoreline Municipal Code to align this chapter with the King County Code and to update provisions consistent with City practices. One of the primary amendments in this proposed Ordinance is to transfer appeal authority from the City Council to the City Hearing Examiner.


One of my concerns was that the Code specifically talks about buildings but doesn’t address landscapes or natural areas or other features beyond the building. Are there any plans to address that piece?
  • Reply: We would have to add to the designation criteria language that we pulled from King County to expand the types of things we’d like to see qualifying for landmark status.
I would like to work with you and staff to figure out something along those lines. Part of the problem in our earlier discussion was that the Chapel sits on a large parcel of land with no clear boundary.
  • Reply: thank you. I will pull something together for you to look at.
Thank you. I don’t want to hold this part up though.

I share that concern. There are some Shoreline residences that are really remarkable because of the building but also because they are in a mature landscape setting that was planted at the time the house was built. Someday some of these might be landmarked, and I would be sorry to see the building landmarked as a house but the land around it converted to a miniature golf course.

When we recently discussed the reconsideration of the landmarks, it was painful not having a legal background and not understanding what we were allowed to consider vs. what we should consider vs. how we feel about things. So bringing this to the Hearing Examiner, you will have someone who is versed in the law making the decision. Is there any reason we would want to keep that control or are these decisions supposed to be made only on legal grounds?
  • Reply: The basic purpose of having a Hearing Examiner conduct these hearings is to have a professionally trained individual make objective decisions that are supported by an adequate record and that are free from political influences. Using a Hearing Examiner system allows city councils that might otherwise conduct these hearings to better concentrate on policy-making.
Responding to the above question, as a lawyer I thought we did great in how we handled that appeal. I though the hearing was very well run. I don’t believe our ability to handle it should be a consideration, but I think it should be moved to the Hearing Examiner because I don’t think that’s what Council should be spending their time on.

I thought we did a fine job too, but what if we didn’t? I felt it was borderline political simply because it came to us. Part of the discussion centered on the disagreement of how much land should be included in the landmark status. Fortunately we were in sync. But if we hadn’t been, we might have ended up making the wrong decision. Keeping it at an independent Hearing Examiner would make me feel more comfortable that a correct decision will be made.

I commend staff for cleaning that up the code as proposed. Without that, it is really messy and tricky regardless of who the decision-making authority is. Moving the decision to a Hearing Examiner is consistent with what we’ve done in the past and with what other cities have been moving to for years.

Are we all ok with this coming back on Consent at our next meeting September 13? We can look at options for surrounding property later.
No objections.



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